August 11, 2003
We have all lamented the lack of trust in society, but I wonder.... Is it actually preventable? And is it even, really, such a bad thing?
Just look at what happens when ‘they’ try to tackle the effects of this lack of trust.
‘They’, increase regulation… ‘We’ practise avoidance
‘They’ increase measurement … ‘We’ engage in deception
‘They’ try to regain control… ‘We’ demand freedom
‘They’ make bolder and grander promises… ‘We’ berate them for inevitable failure
‘They’ become more transparent… ‘We’ become confused, and cynical
And all the while, this game of social chess continues, the trust gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’ continues to widen. So, in response to this lack of community, what happens? Again, ‘they’ try to tackle the effect.
‘They’ humanise authority figures…’We’ laugh at their frailties
‘They’ focus on delivery… ‘We’ lambast them for incompetence
‘They’ campaign their values… ‘We’ distrust them more
‘They’ want to be understood… ‘We’ don’t see the point
And what has been created through these cycles of mislearning? Trust-free communities. Communities of self-interest.
So here’s a radical and uplifting thought. Maybe trust is an inevitable casualty of democracy. A natural symptom of mass-affluence.
Here's an even more radical thought. Maybe we should just learn to live without trust…and find something more meaningful instead...'self-respect'.
After all, trust is not about our relationship with the outside world. It's about our relationship with ourselves. 'They' are actually 'We'. Trust matters, but you can't solve it from the outside.
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